North Alabama Repeater Association

Annual Newsletter for 2005 rev a


                     NARA: Who are we?

            NARA stands for North Alabama Repeater Association.  We are a separate but sister entity to the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club with a long-standing heritage of providing top-notch VHF and UHF repeater facilities to support Huntsville area.  This support includes club functions, public service events, ARES and Red Cross activities as well as everyday communications enjoyment.   We draw our support from faithful dues paying memberships just like you.   Dues are just $16 per year per family and can be prorated quarterly to a nice even $4 per quarter.   They can be mailed to NARA: P.O. Box 18941.  You will receive an expanded version of this newsletter with additional information as well as a members only command sheet showing you how to use dozens of repeater features such as the auto patch, remote base, IRLP node, and more.  To find out more, see the NARA web site at or call Ralph Hogan W4XE at 881-0606.


NARA’s Flagship Machine:   146.94 N4HSV Repeater

            Currently we are using an alternate site since the tower incident at Channel 31. We are currently working to put up a new antenna and feed line at Channel 31 to allow us to return to the site. We plan on reactivating the site with a complete backup system. This will let us test out the site for interference before we move the main system back. We have installed an emergency backup battery system & charger. For now it is a manual switch over. Gary is modifying the power supply to allow automatic switching. Among other upgrades is a remote receiver to fill in the coverage holes in southeast Huntsville. Just program another memory channel in your radio for 107.2 Hz PL to take advantage of this feature. Another one is in the works to fill in coverage of highway 72 east.   This last bike-a-thon season we implemented a UHF link to 147.18 to allow tying both systems together. This allowed the hams supporting the event to utilize the coverage footprint of both machines simultaneously. Check out the ’94 machine for Club announcements, a full auto patch and lots of handy user functions.  See the expanded edition for more details!  The ’94 machine requires a 100 Hz PL tone. The south HSV remote receiver requires a 107.2 Hz PL tone.


Nets on ‘94

            The ARES local group holds training net each Thursday evening at 7:30 PM on the 146.94 machine. This is to support storm-spotting activities in the area.   Everyone is welcome to check in.


The 147.18 WD4CPF Repeater with IRLP

            From it’s 210 ft perch high on Brindlee mountain south of Huntsville, this machine not only provides great coverage of south Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal but offers wide coverage access to the W4VM IRLP Node for world wide QSOs using your 2M HT or mobile rig!  To find out more, see the expanded edition of the NARA news.

Recently we’ve added automatic emergency power backup to the system. As mentioned above this system can be linked to 146.94 for special events.


Talking to the next town down the road:  The NARA remote base system on 443.500

            Ever heard all those DTMF touch tones that ultimately result in a voice from Nashville or Birmingham of Muscle Shoals or Chattanooga?    You can be a part of it with NARA’s multi-band remote base system on the 443.500 repeater atop Monte Sano. This repeater has been entirely rebuilt in the spring of 2004 and antenna work at the site will soon bring several of the exciting bands back to life in this system.   Included are 10 meter, 2 meter, 220 MHz, 440 MHz and 1.2 Gig bands.   With the 10-meter band remote restored, it will be more then just the next town down the road – it becomes worldwide!


Talking around the state:  The re-birth of AICN (now ALN) and statewide linking

            The 145.23 machine is not one of the NARA sponsored machines, it has been made a reality by yours truly Ralph W4XE.  I invite you to check out the recently re-worked machine, which features a full time link to most of Alabama!    Just punch in a 186.2 PL tone, key down & talk to the state! A new tri-port controller is in the works along with another UHF link radio. This will allow linking up into the MTEARS Tennessee UHF emergency link system. Thus 145.23 acts as a link hub between Alabama and Tennessee. Talk from Nashville to Mobile.


The Road less traveled:  6 meter, 220Mhz 900 and 1200 MHz Facilities from NARA

            Sometimes the road less traveled provides greater opportunities for ham radio enjoyment:  The propagation on 6 meters can get real interesting at times!  Try NARA’s 53.21 6 Meter repeater with a 100 Hz tone. With the loss of the south split site, the system was taken down. It will be restored to a single site system when we finished the duplexers.  The 220 MHz band has been called the “private band” but the propagation can be better then 2 meters at times. It has been totally reworked and is working fantastic! Find out on NARA’s 224.94 repeater with a 100 Hz tone.   If you are really on the cutting edge with equipment, check out the surprising performance on 1291 MHz with the KE4ROC repeater. There is an increase in 900 MHz activities. Look for a 902 MHz repeater soon.   NARA offers varying degrees of support to some of these facilities ranging from full (for 220) to “name only” for 1.2 Gig & 900.


Still performing:  NARA’s 145.33 and 443.800

            The 145.33 repeater has long supported ATV activities and will be upgraded with new equipment to continue to offer an alternative to busy machines.   443.800 is in southeast Huntsville on Mathis Mountain and offers a quiet system for users in the south end of town.


Command sheets updates

            As the array of controller’s change & new features come on line, we try to make them consistent between machines and easy to remember. Be sure to join NARA this year to stay current on changing command codes for repeater features.   As a NARA member, you’ll receive the expanded newsletter & new command sheet via e-mail or snail mail.  We also send out periodic updates via e-mail during the year.


2005 NARA officers and contributors

President:  Ralph Hogan: W4XE –  881-0606

Vice President: John Zeiler – K4AN 828-9302

Treasurer: Todd Freestone: KD4ALP –

Secretary: Charlie Emerson: N4OKL

Technical Advisor:  Gary Dion N4TXI  -

Webmaster: Corry Smith K4DOH -

HARC Liaison: Don Tunstil – W4NO –


Upcoming meetings:

Friday July 15th 2005, 7:30 PM at the Red Cross: NARA Mid Year Update

Friday January 7th 2005, 7:00 PM at the Red Cross: HARC / NARA Kick-off

Find out how you can get involved to enjoy the fun on VHF & UHF: contact NARA